It will be up to newly sworn-in Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on whether declassified Russia probe documents are made public, Fox News reports.
On his way out, acting intelligence chief Richard Grenell declassified a host of records related to the Russia probe. His successor will decide if the files will be made accessible to the public.
The declassified documents include transcripts of phone calls between then-incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn and then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak in December 2016, during the presidential transition period.
Last week, Grenell said he was working to declassify the files after he was asked to so by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
Fox News reports the declassification of the phone transcripts is complete, along with other documents related to the Russia investigation. A senior intelligence official told the network that one file was "very significant in understanding how intelligence was manipulated to support launching the Russia investigation."
Now, it will be up to Ratcliffe to determine what to do with the declassified documents. Ratcliffe was sworn-in as director of national intelligence on Tuesday by Grenell.
Grenell spent the past several weeks of his three-month stint releasing thousands of pages of transcripts of interviews from the House Intelligence Committee's ongoing Russia investigation. He also declassified a list of Obama administration officials who requested to unmask the identity of Flynn in intelligence reports. The list included including then-Vice President Joe Biden, then-FBI Director James Comey, then-CIA Director John Brennan, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former President Barack Obama's chief of staff Denis McDonough, among others.
Schiff said in a recent letter to Grenell that his declassification of the list of Obama administration officials is "without precedent" and "corrupt."
"It was a transparent political act — in an election year and during a pandemic, no less — in which you used the authorities of your position to insinuate wrongdoing by officials who acted appropriately in requesting the identity of masked U.S. persons to better understand foreign intelligence reports," Schiff wrote. "This is inconsistent with the oath and obligations of an acting Director of National Intelligence."
But many lauded Grenell's efforts to declassify the information.
"Richard Grenell brought unmatched energy and transparency to ODNI during his tenure there," a senior administration official told Fox News. "He took seriously the rule that classification must not be used to hide potential misconduct or to save the government from embarrassment."
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